City and Council Hear Complaints on Process and Merits of Olive Drive Proposal

On Tuesday, the council approved an item, placed on consent, approving a resolution that would authorize Raney Planning to provide an environmental analysis for a mixed-use project located on Olive Drive on five parcels from 1031 to 1055 Olive Drive.

The project proposes to create roughly 76 single-bedroom apartment units of approximately 425 square feet to provide workforce housing.  The applicant is proposing to provide 28 percent low-income units.

The item drew several public commenters, most of them complaining about process.  Colin Walsh during the main public comment asked the city to specify under what conditions items should be placed on consent, and wondered if it was appropriate to do so when the item was just introduced and seemed to elicit community input and response.

City Manger Mike Webb noted, “While we certainly understand and recognize community interest in engaging on the merits of the proposal that has been submitted – we’re not quite there – we’re undertaking the analysis of the proposal.  We’re not quite there.”

Colin Walsh said, “It’s not just a case with this item that it’s been placed on consent calendar, which in itself is a problem.”

He also noted that the city had failed to put the documents of the project on its website or the agenda.  By Friday around 3 pm, after emailing City Manager Webb, he received a link to the city website where all of the documents were finally uploaded.

“The project application was stamped, August 7, the city received it August 7 and failed to make it available to the public until it was requested on Friday – the Friday before this meeting,” he stated.  “Part of what is not routine here, part of what is controversial is the city’s failure to make it available to the public.

“The city can do better, the city can do a lot better,” he said.

Eileen Samitz has many concerns about the project, and she said, “It’s really an unrealistic proposal.  It’s nothing short of being absurd what’s being proposed here.”

She pointed out the number of units being proposed “with five parking spots for 72 bedrooms” and “there will be commercial there (with) four parking spaces.”  (It’s actually 76 bedrooms).

“This is not workforce housing,” she stated.  “You cannot expect 72 bedrooms to be workforce workers and relying entirely on transit, particularly on Richards Corridor.”

She said, “Davis does not have the public transit system to support something huge and high density, especially at this particular area.  It’s one of the worst choke points in the entire city and it’s only going to get worse when Lincoln40 comes with its hundreds of people.”

Councilmember Lucas Frerichs noted, “This is the beginning of the process for this… it starts the process in motion, it is not the approval of the project.  It simply authorizes the ability for environmental analysis to begin on it.”

Councilmember Will Arnold had questions about the rules for the city’s process.

“What choice does the city have here to move forward with environmental analysis?” the councilmember asked.  “If I was a project proponent and I wanted to for example take City Hall and turn it into a ten story casino and open air gun range on the roof, the city council would likely summarily deny the project and say we have no interest in it – is that generally correct?”

Mike Webb responded that summarily denying such a project would be within the council’s purview – in part because it’s city-owned property and the applicant would not have ownership stake in it.  The city as property owner must approve of the submittal of an application in the first place.

He explained though, “Generally speaking under California land use law when you have an application for land use entitlement proposed to the city, the city has an obligation to a certain level to review and undertake review of that proposal and bring it forward through a fair hearing process for consideration and analysis.”

He said, “The exception to that can be when there is a general plan amendment that is proposed – the city council is not obligated necessarily to undertake review of that proposal.”

That would be one case where the council has the ability to decide whether to bring such an application forward in the first place.

Councilmember Arnold said, “There are fairly narrow circumstances in which we can choose not to move forward with environmental analysis on a project proposal.”

He added, “And this is not one of those circumstances.”

City Attorney Inder Khalsa noted that when a private property owner comes forward “they actually have a state law right to apply to develop their property.”  That doesn’t mean that the city is obligated to approve their project but they do “have a right to file an application and as part of that application we do have to undertake environmental review under state law.”

Will Arnold said, “So this begins analysis of the project – it doesn’t necessarily move project approval forward.”  He said that “we are compelled to do it by law, it costs us nothing because the developer – (it ) is part of their fees.”

He said, “Has an item like this ever not been on consent?”

Mike Webb said, not in terms of authorization for environmental analysis.

“That fits my definition of routine,” said Will Arnold.  “This is a routine action that we are compelled to do, but compels us to do nothing.”  He concluded, “I disagree with the assertion that this does not belong on the consent calendar.”

Gloria Partida would add, “It’s very difficult to smuggle anything into Davis because our process is so robust.”

She likes engagement, but “sometimes it’s a little over the top.”

City Manager Mike Webb did acknowledge, however, that it was an oversight not to have uploaded the material for public perusal.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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71 Comments

  1. Bill Marshall

    Typically, only a draft of the scope begins the process… then there is a “scoping meeting”, noticed, and public.  it is then, and only then, that the ‘scope’ is completed.  Looks like “process” is supposed to be what any individual thinks or wants it to be.  Maybe the new Measure R should require a second vote to affirm the action, if the first vote passes… gives project opponents more time/opportunity to kill a project.

    Measure R does not apply in the current proposal, but appears that some folk want at least two “bites of the apple” as to “scope” of the environmental analysis… one at the beginning of the process, and one (required) during the process, once actually initiated.  Same concept.

  2. Craig Ross

    I don’t understand why the lack of city posting documents would be the lede in your world rather than say an better explanation of the requirement that the city process applications.

  3. Craig Ross

    I wonder how much extra work is being done over a misunderstanding about the nature of the requirements for environmental review.  I had to laugh at Eileen Samitz – here she supported the disastrous Cannery project and is opposing 425 foot apartments and why?  Probably because she’s afraid students will live there.

  4. Eileen Samitz

    Craig,

    This Olive Drive project has virtually no parking, where as Cannery does have parking. What about ADA needs? Most disabled people need a vehicle. So, with only 5 parking spots, even if all were reserved for disabled tenants, this proposal discriminates against disabled people, since it would limit it to only 5 people. However, my guess is that they might only have one parking slot for the disabled.

    It is disappointing to see that your advocacy for more housing always seems to focus on housing for students, rather than then housing that works for all. In contrast, my advocacy on multi-family housing has been for inclusive design that works for all.

    Also, it would be helpful if you could try to comment without insults and false accusations. The kind of posting like you have is precisely why many people like me do not want to participate in posting on the Vanguard any more.

     

    1. Craig Ross

      There are a large number of minimum wage workers both at UC Davis and in the downtown – a lot of them don’t drive cars and could walk/ bike to work from this location.  This isn’t designed to be student housing.  Also I while my comment was pointed, I don’t see any insults in it.

    2. Rik Keller

      Eileen: to reinforce  what you are saying, in another article on this site about Mace, Mayor Brett Lee is quoted as saying;

      Previously, when this came to council before, “we had no objective information.  We had no traffic studies.  We had no traffic models.  We got it wrong before.
      “We had this corridor that had much lower traffic volumes and in the past five years it has dramatically changed,” he pointed out.

      The City proceeded with this massive project without adequate studies beforehand? Huh. It’s almost like citizens should get up in front of Council and advocate for discussion and vetting before the Council approves “routine” things on the consent calendar like project studies without discussion.
      Just think about the better project outcomes that could be achieved and the money that could be saved!

        1. Don Shor

          Craig:

          Massive project? BTW, did you look at the past staff reports – I’m not sure Brett is correct that there weren’t studies.

          Rik was copying his earlier comment about the South Davis Mace project as being relevant to this project as well. I don’t think he was saying the Olive Drive proposal is a “massive project.”

      1. Rik Keller

        Thanks Don. I did think it was clear from my context that I was referring to the Mace project. Especially since I directly mentioned the Mace project. But your clarification is welcome in any case.

        P.S. I think I accidentally hit “report comment” on yours. Sorry!

  5. Eileen Samitz

    David,

    Actually, the proposed project description states it is 72 units, not 76 units. The Staff report states 76 units, so either the Staff report is wrong or the project description. I chose to assume that the developer’s project description proposal was correct.

    1. Rik Keller

      The staff report also states that 20 units will be low-income, whereas the proposal itself states that 20 units will moderate- and low-income. A big difference! Especially when the moderate-income threshold for a 1-bedroom in Yolo County ranges as high as $2,000/month!

        1. Craig Ross

          You need to look at size of the units – an 800 sf unit is probably typical, so then cut the price in half for a 425 and then add a little on for being new and for scale.  But these are designed for low income workers.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Alan M.’s response to Craig (repeated more than once, I believe):

          Tell you what . . . I’ll make you a bet . . . you pay me the difference between your upper limit, $500, and the actual monthly rent when the apartments are built.  If it’s below $500, I’ll trap a possum and make you breakfast.

          https://www.davisvanguard.org/2019/11/sunday-commentary-it-appears-some-people-will-object-to-any-project/#comment-415982

          (P.S. – it’s student housing.)

        3. Ron Oertel

          Claiming it as “workforce housing” does not make it so.  That’s a marketing ploy, at this point.

          I’d suggest just calling it what it is.

          The location, probable rents, and lack of parking ensure that it will primarily be occupied by students.  Granted, some of them may qualify as part-time “workers” (e.g., at Davis ACE, local coffee shops, etc.) Hopefully, no one is looking at these jobs as permanent careers, let alone paying the total cost of living via the salaries these jobs provide.

          At least some of them will have cars, which will be parked “somewhere” nearby. And when the bicycle/pedestrian overpass is built, that will help facilitate parking nearby.

          Then there’s visitors, deliveries, short-term rental cars, Uber pickups and drop-offs, etc. All of which involve motor vehicles.

          1. Don Shor

            I’d suggest just calling it what it is.

            I’d suggest doing that, too, so now you will hopefully stop calling it “student housing.”

            The location, probable rents, and lack of parking ensure that it will primarily be occupied by students.

            Nope. There are hundreds of residents on Olive Drive. Many non-students. Why? Because it happens to be some of the lower-cost housing in Davis.

            Granted, some of them may qualify as part-time “workers” (e.g., at Davis ACE, local coffee shops, etc.) Hopefully, no one is looking at these jobs as permanent careers, let alone paying the total cost of living via the salaries these jobs provide.

            There are many dozens of employers in this town. Many of them — all of the retailers, many of the others — have lower-wage jobs. There are hundreds of employees in this town who are not students. They need places to live, and not all of them have or need cars. Everywhere you buy food, coffee, retail goods, you are being served by employees who would likely benefit from a housing proposal of this sort. Whether or not they are UCD students, or students at community colleges, is irrelevant. Whether or not it is a “permanent career” is irrelevant.
            I’ll be interested in the traffic study and the other output of the consultants that the council approved. I think that once we all have those studies in hand, the merits of the project can be debated with actual evidence.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Of course, the small commercial space is so limited that it would likely only serve residents of the development, or those nearby.

          Yet another loss of commercially-zoned space. Not that there’s any claimed “shortage” of that.

  6. Bill Marshall

    The location, probable rents, and lack of parking ensure that it will primarily be occupied by students.  Granted, some of them may qualify as part-time “workers” (e.g., at Davis ACE, local coffee shops, etc.)

    And your expertise to assert this?  Cites?

    You have already opined that rental rates are ‘speculative’… now has moved to ‘probable’?

    Just trying to understand the issues…

    1. Ron Oertel

      I haven’t put forth any numbers, regarding probable rental amounts.  But, I’d suggest that they’re likely to be higher than what’s been presented by Craig/The Vanguard.  (I’d refer to comments put forth by others – including those put forth, but not limited to Rik. Especially the comments regarding what qualifies as Affordable housing, as claimed in the proposal.)

      By the way, at what point is anyone going to examine the legality of making new residents refrain from having cars?

      Others have noted that students occupy many of the low-wage jobs, in Davis. (It’s pretty obvious if you open your eyes and look at who works there.) If you want to count that as part of the “workforce”, so be it.

      1. Bill Marshall

        By the way, at what point is anyone going to examine the legalityof making new residents refrain from having cars?

        Two issues:  owning (having) a car, and using a car in conjunction with occupancy…

        Feel free to research the issue(s) at your leisure (unclear why anyone should be expected to do that for you)… I’ve already opined on the legality of the difference… crickets…

        1. Ron Oertel

          It’s the city’s responsibility to determine if such agreements are legal, when considering whether or not to allow a rezone and possible approval.  Why would I (or any private citizen) do that for them?

          Especially since the “premise” is that the agreement will prevent impacts on surrounding neighborhoods and businesses, which developers are normally responsible for mitigating.

          This proposal simply provides an “out” for the developer to maximize rental revenue, and avoid responsibility for the impacts of their development.

        2. Bill Marshall

          It’s the city’s responsibility to determine if such agreements are legal.

          Patently untrue.  Again…

          May be what you wish it to be, but not what it is… legally… and, in my opinion, ethically… morally…

          Old bromide, “And folk in Hell want ice water”…

          Seek changes to the law(s), or substitute “It’s the city’s responsibility” to, “I wish/want it to be the city’s responsibility”… choice is yours… best wishes on whatever choice you make…

          But, the law does not require the City to do anything beyond what is in City Ordinance, State Law, or Federal Law/Constitution.  Simple. CC is not “responsible” for what you appear to want… politically, maybe…legally, NOT.

          You can always exert your influence as a resident/citizen, of the City and/or State…

        3. Ron Oertel

          Representatives are accountable for the results of their decisions.  If they’re approving developments based upon agreements that are legally questionable, then they’re not operating in a responsible manner.

          During our most recent conversation regarding this issue, you claimed (in error) that agreements are essentially automatically binding, even if they’re legally unenforceable. Why you make such claims is something that only you can answer.

          I’d suggest that the comments you make are consistently (and sometimes purposefully) misleading.  Hopefully, no one is taking legal advice from you.

          I’d also suggest that you stop framing my comments in a blatantly political manner. Your assumptions have been uncannily inaccurate.

  7. Don Shor

    San Diego City Council Votes to Repeal Minimum Parking Requirements for New Housing

    POSTED BY ALEXANDER NGUYEN ON MARCH 4, 2019

    The San Diego City Council voted 8-1 Monday to remove minimum parking requirements for new housing developments in an effort to alleviate the city’s dearth of affordable housing and cut down on vehicular carbon emissions.

    Current city law mandates a minimum of at least one parking space per housing unit or bedroom. That minimum increases concurrently with the number of bedrooms in a unit.

    The mandate can increase development costs by as much as $90,000 per parking space, which gets passed down to residents and keeps people with less means from finding housing, according to city officials.

    The new parking requirements — if approved on second reading — will apply to developments in “transit priority areas,” which the San Diego Association of Governments defines as sitting within one half-mile of a current or planned transit stop. The city defines a planned transit stop as one funded and scheduled to be completed within five years.

    More here:

    https://timesofsandiego.com/politics/2019/03/04/san-diego-city-council-votes-to-repeal-minimum-parking-requirements-for-new-housing/

    1. Ron Oertel

      As a side note, I’m wondering if all of the people who claim that we now live in a car-less society have any thoughts regarding the 4,340-parking space development proposed on Mace?  (Apparently, that developer didn’t get the “memo”.)

  8. Ron Oertel

    Don:  Nope. There are hundreds of residents on Olive Drive. Many non-students. Why? Because it happens to be some of the lower-cost housing in Davis.

    It soon won’t be.

    Don:  There are many dozens of employers in this town. Many of them — all of the retailers, many of the others — have lower-wage jobs. There are hundreds of employees in this town who are not students. They need places to live, and not all of them have or need cars. Everywhere you buy food, coffee, retail goods, you are being served by employees who would likely benefit from a housing proposal of this sort. Whether or not they are UCD students, or students at community colleges, is irrelevant. Whether or not it is a “permanent career” is irrelevant.

    You consistently put forth these type of claims, without any evidence whatsoever regarding who these folks are (e.g., whether or not they’re students).

    I’ve already acknowledged that many students are also low-wage workers.  (Hopefully, on a temporary basis.)

    By the way – if they’re not students and don’t have cars, they’re likely going to be stuck at a local coffee shop or retail nursery forever.  Since you appear to be concerned for their welfare, why wouldn’t you be concerned about that?

    And what makes you think they’ll be able to afford this new development?  Isn’t it more likely that new developments on Olive Drive (and other locations around the city) are on a path to displace lower-rent housing?

    1. Don Shor

      You consistently put forth these type of claims, without any evidence whatsoever regarding who these folks are (e.g., whether or not they’re students).

      What evidence do you want? I am an employer. My employees have come from a wide range of backgrounds. Very few have been UCD students. Many have been enrolled in community college while working for me. Many grew up here and have moved out to their own place, others moved here for various reasons that aren’t directly UCD related. Some have not owned cars and have been happy to live in a relatively compact city where that’s actually possible.
      Although the university is the major factor in the jobs and housing market here, Davis is still a relatively normal city with normal businesses that have employees. Just from my direct experience, I’d guess I probably know something about the retail sector employment in Davis. You seem to constantly conflate workers and UCD students.

      By the way – if they’re not students and don’t have cars, they’re likely going to be stuck at a local coffee shop or retail nursery forever. Since you appear to be concerned for their welfare, why wouldn’t you be concerned about that?

      I am unclear what you’re trying to say. They won’t stay at the same job or in the same house/apartment forever. Did you? People move around.

      And what makes you think they’ll be able to afford this new development?

      I don’t know what the rents will be. But they’ll do it the usual way, I’d guess — by doubling and tripling up in a room.

      1. Ron Oertel

        My employees have come from a wide range of backgrounds. Very few have been UCD students.

        Well, that does surprise me.  How many have been able to afford anyplace  (even in a surrounding city), based solely upon the salary that you’re able to provide?

        Assuming that you believe workers “should” be able to survive on that, how do you feel about “living wage” efforts?

        You’ve previously acknowledged that the only way to make housing affordable is to mandate it, which might be viewed as a “subsidy” for employers. Perhaps it’s about time to raise wages, and charge customers the actual costs of goods and services.

        Some have not owned cars and have been happy to live in a relatively compact city where that’s actually possible.

        I am unclear what you’re trying to say. They won’t stay at the same job or in the same house/apartment forever. Did you? People move around.

        Seems like two different thoughts.

        College graduates aren’t going to be working at coffee shops and retail nurseries, after graduation.  In fact, very few workers will on a long-term basis – even those who don’t go to college.

        Frankly, not having access to a car limits opportunities, even if public transit provides some options.

        But they’ll do it the usual way, I’d guess — by doubling and tripling up in a room.

        Sounds terrific.  If I had to do this on a semi-permanent basis (e.g., after graduation), I’d get out of Dodge city as soon as possible.

        Seems more likely that students would accept this arrangement.

        1. Ron Oertel

          And all the more so, without parking.  Unless I was somehow satisfied living 2-3 to a room, without vehicular access.

          All for the “privilege” of living in the greatest (and increasingly crowded) city on earth, I guess. Without many real/career employment opportunities, other than UCD.

          All of this (along with the location) points to the fact that it’s primarily a student housing proposal. Some are also workers.

          What’s “wrong” with calling it what it actually is?

        2. Ron Oertel

          David:  See Don’s comment, from above:

          But they’ll do it the usual way, I’d guess — by doubling and tripling up in a room.

          At least, for those who can’t afford (or don’t want to) to pay for their own unit.

          “Politically”, I’d say that the development activists would be better-served by noting that some college students are also workers, rather than denying who would live there.

          If it wasn’t for the negative impacts on the city, I wouldn’t care whether or not student housing is located on campus or the city. (Those impacts have been previously discussed.)

          1. Don Shor

            some college students are also workers

            Some college students are also workers.
            Some workers are also college students.
            Some workers are not college students.
            Some college students are not workers.
            This development would likely have tenants in all of those categories. It is therefore inaccurate to describe it as “student housing.” I think we can speculate that the tenants would be younger than the Davis average. That’s about it.

        3. Don Shor

          Don: My employees have come from a wide range of backgrounds. Very few have been UCD students.
          Ron: Well, that does surprise me. How many have been able to afford anyplace (even in a surrounding city), based solely upon the salary that you’re able to provide?

          Most of them, many by sharing housing with others who are in similar jobs.

          that you believe workers “should” be able to survive on that, how do you feel about “living wage” efforts?

          That’s a whole ‘nother topic, but single young adults can live on $13 – 15 an hour. If they have a child, it’s nowhere near enough and a second wage earner is really necessary or they are in poverty. I recommend the MIT living wage calculator for more information as to what regional costs are here.

          You’ve previously acknowledged that the only way to make housing affordable is to mandate it, which might be viewed as a “subsidy” for employers. Perhaps it’s about time to raise wages, and charge customers the actual costs of goods and services.

          California’s minimum wage will be $15/hour in 2022. I have read many essays about what businesses ‘should’ pay their employees. Most of them are not very realistic.

          Don: Some have not owned cars and have been happy to live in a relatively compact city where that’s actually possible.
          I am unclear what you’re trying to say. They won’t stay at the same job or in the same house/apartment forever. Did you? People move around.
          Ron: Seems like two different thoughts.
          College graduates aren’t going to be working at coffee shops and retail nurseries, after graduation. In fact, very few workers will on a long-term basis – even those who don’t go to college.

          College graduates often do exactly that while they figure out their next steps in life. Sometimes that takes longer than you might think.

          Ron: Frankly, not having access to a car limits opportunities, even if public transit provides some options.

          Of course. For most people, living without a car in California would be a short-term choice. On the other hand, one of my kids did it in New York city area for several years. A car there is an expensive liability.

          Don: But they’ll do it the usual way, I’d guess — by doubling and tripling up in a room.
          Ron: Sounds terrific. If I had to do this on a semi-permanent basis (e.g., after graduation), I’d get out of Dodge city as soon as possible.

          Oh, definitely not my cup of tea. I was fortunate that I didn’t have to do that. But it’s the present-day reality in communities everywhere.

          Seems more likely that students would accept this arrangement.

          I don’t think that this way of living is what most young adults prefer. But it’s the reality for many young adults who are trying to support themselves while they develop their careers or consider the next steps in their employment options. I have children who have gone through this, and have watched lots of young adults do it. They accept it. I hear the discussions all the time: what rent is in Sac vs Davis, what the commute costs in time and money, and so on.

          I am not claiming any special expertise on this topic, just that I have direct anecdotal knowledge over many years of how young adults cope with the Davis jobs and housing market.
          I don’t really now that we could find stats that will prove things one way or another. I do find this much:
          In Davis in 2017 there were about

        4. 2300 jobs in retail
        5. 2900 in hotel/food service
        6. 3500 in health care.
        7. There were about 1200 households with zero cars.
          https://datausa.io/profile/geo/davis-ca/

          Probably worth noting that most full-time students cannot work full-time. As a UCD student I was not allowed to work more than 49% time on a campus job. Obviously they can’t control the hours students work off campus, but the presumption was that my studies would require me to minimize by employment. They apparently still believe this:

          If you want to hire UC Davis students, you may post part-time, one-time, temporary, and summer full-time work-study and non-work study employment opportunities and the student will contact you directly.

          https://icc.ucdavis.edu/staff-faculty/student-employment

        8. Ron Oertel

          Don:  Increasingly, students are staying at home with their parents, even after graduation for a period of time.  Many are saddled with student-loan debt, some of which probably could have been avoided by attending local community colleges (near their families’ homes) for the first couple of years, etc.

          Frankly, I think that students have been essentially “lied to”, regarding the value of (some) college degrees, and their subsequent ability to pay-off debt.

          Note that I’m not claiming that this is true for all students.

          For what it’s worth, I do think that younger generations are (generally) facing more challenging conditions in places such as much of California, than older generations. (Actually, that’s been occurring for some time, now.)

          Much of this has been due to “economic development” which is not well-distributed regarding wealth creation, and has caused an increase in housing prices while simultaneously leaving many behind (as well as rising tuition costs, etc.).

        9. Ron Oertel

          And in regard to Davis, many are Bay Area transplants who have been effectively “priced out” of their original homes, permanently.

          You can thank the technology industry, for that.

          For that matter, some who arrived in Davis years ago (and other semi-desirable places in the region) might not be able to do so, today.

          But, all is not lost, as there’s still places around the country (and probably even within California) that offer better salary/housing cost ratios.  (Better than Davis, as well.)

           

  9. Eileen Samitz

    Craig,

    So, based on your comment (at 11:13 am), I assume that the developer modified the original project description for 72 units because the developer’s project description on line says nothing about an additional 4 units over the commercial.  This is helpful to know if this is the case, because it would explain the discrepancy between the developer’s documentation describing the project of 72 units, as compared to the Staff report description of 76 units.

    On the rent speculations subject, I find it an enormous “leap of faith” that either you or the Vanguard would make such assumptions about the rents for these one-bedroom apartments being only $500-$600. One-bedroom apartments are typically much more expensive per square foot. Regarding this project, I have asked for hat rent costs the developer is projecting for these one-bedroom apartments from Staff but have gotten not response on it yet.

    So, until we actually have that accurate information, I would suggest that rather than you, or the Vanguard projecting optimistic assumptions that the rents would be so low for these apartments, that we actually get the facts from the developer about what he plans to charge for these market rate one-bedroom apartments.

    Finally, while you claim (11:16 am) that your earlier comments referring to me were simply “pointed” and not insulting, I can tell that they were insulting. So, I would like to suggest that rather than you speculating (again) what you seem to think my thoughts and objectives are, that instead you stick to the subject and give your own thoughts about what your thoughts are about the project or subject, not about others.

    1. Ron Oertel

      On the rent speculations subject, I find it an enormous “leap of faith” that either you or the Vanguard would make such assumptions about the rents for these one-bedroom apartments being only $500-$600.

      I find your wording of this “leap of faith” to be extraordinarily-polite.  Almost “out of place” on this blog.

      At this point, I’d probably (personally) use different language to describe it, as a result of my experiences on here.

      1. David Greenwald

        Maybe. But keep in mind – we are talking about 425 square foot apartments. Why is that significant? Affordability by size. A market rate single bedroom is roughly $900 to 1200, so you’re not going to get 425 square foot apartment for $1200, we’ll see what the average rent is, but it is designed to be consdierably cheaper, otherwise, who would move there?

        1. Ron Oertel

          who would move there?

          Students, primarily new ones.

          I’d refer to Rik’s analysis, over yours. But I see that reality is starting to creep in, regarding your rent estimates.

          In reference to my earlier comment/reference above, the possums will sleep well tonight. (Or, is it during the daytime that they sleep.) By the way, where is the housing for possums, anyway? And, why are they so strange-looking?

        2. Ron Oertel

          O.K. – “old” ones.

          By the way, are transfer students (who have attended community college for the first couple of years) also required to live on campus, at first?

          1. Don Shor

            By the way, are transfer students (who have attended community college for the first couple of years) also required to live on campus, at first?

            No. UCD makes an effort to provide housing for transfer students. That has been, I recall, the impetus behind the master leasing practice that has caused so much problem in the Davis rental market.

        3. Craig Ross

          Timing is important – these are likely to come on line after things like L40 and Nishi are already open and built out.  This isn’t going to be a big draw for students in a market flooded with new student housing.  The only people arguing otherwise are those without much pulse for the students.

        4. Ron Oertel

          These type of developments could provide UCD with an opportunity to pay they city $500/unit (per agreement), instead of building on campus. Which, based upon their history, they might prefer to do.

          The “pulse” of the current batch of students will be long-gone, by the time most of these developments are occupied. With the possible exception of those students (and/or, recent students) that are participating in “active coordination” efforts with development interests, which I find reprehensible.

          1. David Greenwald

            If UC Davis ends up short, not only do they have to pay $500 per unit, but they would also face litigation.

        5. Ron Oertel

          Seems to me that you recently had a discussion with Rik regarding that possibility, and ultimately acknowledged that you don’t know what would occur.

          Also seems to me that the $500 is part of an “agreement”, which would imply that it’s a way to settle the issue.  Why would that number even exist, if the result is that they get sued either way?

        6. David Greenwald

          Rik incorrectly claimed that the city waived their right to litigation through the agreement of the MOU.  There is however specific language in the MOU, which i have since confirmed, indicating that nothing in the agreement would preclude the city from litigation.  If you go back to the conversation, I posted that language from the MOU.

        7. Ron Oertel

          “Nothing that would preclude it”, from a city that was reluctant to challenge UCD in the first place.  And whose earlier challenge was not supported by the Vanguard (either you, or Don).  Perhaps further weakening the city’s position, if anyone was influenced by it.

          So, after paying the city $500 (and the county another $500), you believe that the city is going to sue UCD? While simultaneously approving a bunch more student housing within the city, in the meantime?

          Truth be told, the city does not view itself as sufficiently “independent” from UCD.  In a sense, this is because the city does not have a whole lot else going for it, other than easy access to Sacramento.  Compare that with truly desirable locations such as Santa Cruz or Santa Barbara (or even Los Angeles).  Unlike Davis, do their UC’s immediately come to mind, when thinking of those locations?

          1. David Greenwald

            Section IV B of the contract: “Nothing herein shall constitute a waiver by the City or County of any claims or rights that may arise from UC’s failure to abide by the requirements of the mitigation measures identified in the LRDP EIR or the terms of this MOU.”

        8. Ron Oertel

          Oh – almost forgot UCSF.  Definitely not the first thing that comes to mind regarding San Francisco, despite being a first-class medical center.

          Of course, San Francisco is kind of a “mixed bag” of desirability, and undesirability regarding challenges of everyday life. (The “latter” being something that Davis also appears to be trying to “achieve”.)

          Davis kind of sucks, compared to 20 years ago (or so). Seems to be getting more unfriendly, more crowded/congested, more divisive politically, etc. With some continuing to push it in that direction. Some apparently view that as a sign of progress.

  10. Eileen Samitz

    David,

    I believe that your speculation of $500-$600 for the market rate units is primarily “wishful thinking”. So let’s please get an answer from the developer rather than having inaccurate information out there assumed to be correct. That only winds up being a disservice to everyone you have disseminated this idea to via the Vanguard, which can create false expectations to people who may believe it is fact, when it is not.

        1. Rik Keller

          Greenwald: if you want to confirm, look up the AMI tables yourself for Yolo County for 2019 for housing units by bedroom.

          The BAE Urban Economics 2018 Apartment Vacancy and Rental Rate Survey states that weighted average rents in Davis for 1-bedroom units in 2018 was $1,367.

          And maybe you should re-check your notes from the Rothstein talk on Monday. Alysa Meyer, managing attorney for Legal Services of Northern California in Yolo County, said rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Davis ranges from $1,340 to $1,900 now.

           

           

          1. David Greenwald

            Those numbers are definitely higher than I’ve seen. But if they are correct, it would suggest the need for more apartments and smaller apartments that figure to be lower rent. That would seem to undermine your argument against additional apartments in Davis. I’m sure you disagree – but that’s what makes this stuff fun.

        2. Rik Keller

          Greenwald: what numbers have you “seen” and why aren’t you looking at reputable sources of information?

          You mind telling us where you pulled your projection of $400-590 rent from?

          As far as my policy prescriptions, I agree with Richard Rothstein that we need to focus on inclusionary requirements so that increased housing and density doesn’t merely serve upper income groups and perpetuate exclusion further. It is telling that your long article on his talk Monday didn’t even mention this central point of his. Perhaps you think it is “fun” to present misinformation., but these are serious issues.

          1. David Greenwald

            This is where I usually get my data, although I was largely running off memory at $1200 and apparently it’s now over $1300 for a one bedroom – https://housing.ucdavis.edu/_pdf/vacancy-survey/2018-vacancy-survey.pdny f

            The $400 figure would have been for the low income units. I was guessing somewhere between $500 and $600 for market rate given the size being about half a standard, I’d probably go a bit higher than that based on $1367 – but they aren’t going to rent them if they aren’t competitively priced given how small they are and how many apartments will be going on line in advance.

            It wasn’t as telling as you think – first I had a very limited amount of time to write the article on Rothstein. So I flagged the key quotes and was planning to run a separate article later in the week on the solutions – not calculating on the long council meeting and the 1437 news that took up most of my time this week. Still may circle back as next week figures to be slow.

            Did you also agree with Rothstein on abolishing zoning ordinances for single family homes?

            There are lots of serious issues, but I find it fun discussing them with people from different perspectives.

        3. Rik Keller

          Greenwald: you just stated “apparently it’s now over $1300 for a one bedroom”

          Yes I know. I previously cited stats exactly that study from that that you just linked to: “The BAE Urban Economics 2018 Apartment Vacancy and Rental Rate Survey states that weighted average rents in Davis for 1-bedroom units in 2018 was $1,367.” And since you were at the Rothstein talk, you would have heard Alysa Meyer, managing attorney for Legal Services of Northern California in Yolo County, state that rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Davis ranges from $1,340 to $1,900 now.

          Next question to test your understanding of local housing conditions: what do you think the average (or median if you prefer) size of a 1-bedroom apartment in Davis is?

          You keep naively claiming that the Olive Drive apartments will be “affordable by design,” echoing the developer’s marketing. Where is the evidence for that? As a UC Berkeley professor with decades of experience in affordable housing design and production has stated, “micro” units are not actually cheaper and do not provide a viable solution to the affordability crisis. And the Olive Lane project apartments do not even approach micro-level size anyway.

          How could you provide a supposed summary of Rothstein’s talk and completely overlook his central policy prescriptions? As I already stated I agree with, he is calling for increased density hand-in-hand with increasing inclusionary requirements to make sure that increased housing and density doesn’t merely serve upper income groups and perpetuate exclusion further. 

          There’s nothing “fun” about you presenting misinformation.

           

        4. Rik Keller

          Greenwald: for Yolo County in 2019 the threshold for affordable rent for a 1-bedroom unit for an Extremely Low Income (30% of AMI)  household is $495. If your estimate of $400-500 rents for the project were accurate, then essentially 100% of the project would be ELI affordable.

          However, as it stands, the project is not even proposing to meet the City interim minimum requirement for Low Income units (threshold at $1,320 rent) and is not proposing to provide ANY Very Low Income and Extremely Low Income units as required by the City on a 5%/5% basis.

  11. Bill Marshall

    The project is nestled with a small Davis Mobile Estates, and Slatters Court… both of which are “affordable housing”… what % of those are occupied by students, ‘working force’, seniors, etc.?

    What parking is available in those?  How many own cars and use them? Wondering, as another might say…

    Context.

    Given the context, and the stated “arguments” against, am more and more favoring the proposal…

    Just an opinion… but I also opine, again, that the process is working just fine…

  12. Jim Frame

    The project is nestled with a small Davis Mobile Estates, and Slatters Court… both of which are “affordable housing”… what % of those are occupied by students, ‘working force’, seniors, etc.?

    I can’t cite any percentages, but I can assure you that there are plenty of “others” there.  When I was doing the boundary and topo survey for the project, I encountered some very interesting people.  Especially in Davis Mobile Estates, where I had to get into a bunch of backyards.  One guy followed me around, regaling me with tales of his prison stints and the number of people he’s killed.  (I did some work in Old Folsom Prison years ago, and this guy provided details of the interior yard layouts that only someone who’s been there would know.)  Another time I stopped a spaced-out hooker as she was reaching for the door handle of my truck while I was across the street getting a measurement.

    Slatter’s Court seems quieter and generally less nutty, I spoke with several 4-decade residents there.

    It’s definitely not your run-of-the-mill Davis neighborhood.

  13. Sharla Cheney

    It sounds like there is much to consider, but after the environmental review and if the applicant ends up thinking they are ready to move forward.  I understand that this disagreement on process for something the Council seemed obligated to approve pushed the discussion over Mace later and had the effect of needing to limit discussion by the many people who were there for that.   The commenters had gotten the information they desired before the meeting and a discussion of the merits of the project wasn’t on the agenda.  Mace was what the majority wanted to discuss and that was what was on the agenda.

    1. Rik Keller

      “I understand that this disagreement on process for something the Council seemed obligated to approve pushed the discussion over Mace later and had the effect of needing to limit discussion by the many people who were there for that.”

      Oh please. this is a ridiculous statement. The Council reduced the comment time for all citizens on all topics from 3 minute down to 2 because of all the people who showed up for Mace.

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